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The Charleston Church Massacre and the Journey to Forgiveness

The scene outside Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC, on Sunday morning, July 21, 2015.
Linda O'Bryon/SCETV
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The scene outside Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC, on Sunday morning, July 21, 2015.

On June 17, 2015, twelve members of the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina welcomed a young white man to their evening Bible study. He arrived with a pistol, 88 bullets, and hopes of starting a race war. Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine innocents during their closing prayer horrified the nation. Two days later, some relatives of the dead stood at Roof’s hearing and said, “I forgive you.” That grace offered the country a hopeful ending to an awful story. But for the survivors and victims’ families, the journey had just begun.

Grace Will Lead Us Home (2019, St. Martin’s Press) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes provides a definitive account of the tragedy’s aftermath. She talks with Walter Edgar about the effects of the tragedy on victims' families, survivors, first responders, the City of Charleston, and the state of South Carolina.

All Stations: Fri, Oct 25, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.